As Sebastien Loeb clinched his eighth Rallye Monte-Carlo victory last weekend, so the 47-year-old Frenchman became a driver who’s topped the WRC podium in three different decades. Here at Girardo & Co. we’re honoured to own an integral part of Loeb’s fairy-tale story – the Citroën C4 WRC with which he won his fifth ‘Monte’ back in 2008…
As though Sebastien Loeb needed to do anything further to cement his position as the greatest rally driver of all time, the nine-time champ claimed a brilliant victory at last weekend’s Rallye Monte-Carlo alongside Isabelle Galmiche in the mighty M-Sport Ford Puma WRC – his eighth in the wintry hinterland above the principality, equalling his compatriot and rival Sebastien Ogier’s record. Perhaps even more remarkably, this was the first of Loeb’s 80 World Rally Championship wins not driving a Citroën.
As you may know, we’re pumped to call a truly fantastic piece of Sebastien Loeb history our own – the Works Citroën C4 WRC in which he won four rounds of the 2008 World Rally Championship. Instrumental in securing Loeb’s fifth drivers’ title, chassis number 14 won in Germany, Italy, Great Britain and, most famously of all, Monte-Carlo.With Loeb’s sensational comeback victory fresh in the memory, we thought it a perfect opportunity to look back at the fairy-tale that was the 2008 Rallye Monte-Carlo – when Loeb’s won on the Côte d’Azur for the fifth time, driving the very car we’re honoured to call a part of the Girardo & Co. collection.
Chassis number 14 was completed by Citroën Sport in Versailles on 26 March 2007 – although it was earmarked for active service the following season. As the sticker numbered ‘WRC-07-003’ still affixed to the roll-cage today attests, this car was issued with its FIA Technical Passport and counterpart Gold Book on 23 January 2008.A fully-fledged Works car, chassis 14 was assigned solely to Sebastien Loeb and his co-driver Daniel Elena. The prestigious and notoriously challenging Rallye Automobile de Monte-Carlo, the World Rally Championship’s traditional season-opener, was the car’s first competitive outing, Loeb setting out to defend his driver’s championship and Elena looking to triumph at his home rally.
The duo got off to a stellar start, Loeb driving like a scalded cat on day one and two to carve out a substantial lead. It’s small surprise why the C4 WRC earned the nickname ‘King of Asphalt’ – on that year’s largely dry Rallye Monte-Carlo, the all-red car darted through the stages like a field mouse. Loeb might not have won any of the final day’s stages, but he still beat Ford’s Mikko Hirvonen by over two-and-a-half minutes.As Loeb won 10 of 19 special stages on the way to victory, so the Frenchman became the winningest driver at the history-steeped event, edging ahead of veritable rally legends Walter Röhrl, Sandro Munari and Tommi Mäkinen. Chassis 14 had left the traps and won the most famous rally on the planet. Not a bad way to kick off the 2008 World Rally Championship.
Vanquish. It’s the only word we can find which adequately describes what Loeb and the C4 WRC did to their competition in the World Rally Championship from 2007 to 2010. Of the staggering 36 World Rally victories the C4 clinched, Loeb and his longstanding co-driver Daniel Elena scored 34 of them.The duo were unbeaten on asphalt. In the process, the Frenchman won his fourth, fifth, six and seventh drivers’ titles. And Citroën reclaimed the manufacturer crown from Ford, winning the 2008, 2009 and 2010 titles. Loeb and the C4 WRC are synonymous. They go together like, well, like French wine and cheese.
“Of the staggering 36 World Rally victories the C4 clinched, Loeb and his longstanding co-driver Daniel Elena scored 34 of them. And the duo were unbeaten on asphalt.”
It’s clear that Loeb hasn’t yet achieved all that he set out to. In narrowly missing out on the Dakar Rally a mere 10 days ago, the one he so desperately wants to win, it’s fair to say his entry at 2023’s edition is all but confirmed. And who knows how many more WRC events he’ll choose to enter and, in turn, triumph at? Is a full championship effort on the cards? We wouldn’t bet against it. Regardless of what the future holds, we’re giddy with excitement about owning such a significant chapter of the fairy-tale whose conclusion has not yet been written. We can't wait to read on... Photos courtesy of Tom Shaxson and the Girardo & Co. ArchiveClick Here to watch our shakedown video with this 2008 Citroen C4 WRC or Click Here to find out what happened when we took the car to last year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed.